Tag Archives: Socialism

Was Stalin an atheist? Is atheism or communism responsible for mass murders?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Let’s take a look at what Josef Stalin did during his rule of Russia in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Library of Congress offers this in their “Soviet Archives exhibit”:

The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools. Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed.

The main target of the anti-religious campaign in the 1920s and 1930s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited. By 1939 only about 500 of over 50,000 churches remained open.

Let’s see more from a peer-reviewed journal article authored by Crispin Paine of the University College, London:

Atheist propaganda and the struggle against religion began immediately after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. While social change would, under Marxist theory, bring religion to disappear, Leninists argued that the Party should actively help to eradicate religion as a vital step in creating ‘New Soviet Man’. The energy with which the Party struggled against religion, though, varied considerably from time to time and from place to place, as did its hostility to particular faith groups. The 1920s saw the closure of innumerable churches and synagogues (and to a lesser extent mosques) and the active persecution of clergy and harassment of believers. From 1930, though, Stalin introduced a less aggressive approach, and wartime support for the government earned for the Russian Orthodox Church, at least, a level of toleration which lasted until Stalin’s death. Under Khrushchev antireligious efforts resumed, if spasmodically, and they lasted until the end of the Soviet Union.

An article from the pro-communism Marxist.com web site says this about Stalin:

During the ultra-left period of forcible collectivisation and the Five Year Plan in Four an attempt was made to liquidate the Church and its influence by government decree. Starting in 1929 churches were forcibly closed and priests arrested and exiled all over the Soviet Union. The celebrated Shrine of the Iberian Virgin in Moscow – esteemed by believers to be the “holiest” in all Russia was demolished – Stalin and his Government were not afraid of strengthening religious fanaticism by wounding the feelings of believers as Lenin and Trotsky had been! Religion, they believed, could be liquidated, like the kulak, by a stroke of the pen. The Society of Militant Atheists, under Stalin’s orders, issued on May 15th 1932, the “Five Year Plan of Atheism” – by May 1st 1937, such as the “Plan”, “not a single house of prayer shall remain in the territory of the USSR, and the very concept of God must be banished from the Soviet Union as a survival of the Middle Ages and an instrument for the oppression of the working masses.”!

Now, if all you read were atheist web sites, you’d think that Stalin loved religion and wasn’t opposed to Christianity at all. An atheist I know told me that Stalin was a Christian because that’s what he was as a child at one point. Funny sort of way to carry out your Christian faith, isn’t it? If you read atheist web sites, you’d expect Stalin to have had the career of a William Lane Craig or a J.P. Moreland. And yet in the fever swamp of atheist web sites, this is what they tell themselves. They believe it because they want to believe it. They have to believe it, in order to keep God at bay.

Now, if you were going to pick a hero of the Christian faith, you’d probably pick a real fundamentalist like William Wilberforce, who freed the slaves – because of his evangelical Christian convictions. Wilberforce took Christianity seriously – he believed every verse of the Bible, he tried to convert people to his faith, and he pushed his faith on others by passing laws. He was the worst nightmare of atheism – a politically active Evangelical Christian.

But who is a great atheist who was politically active? When I think of a great atheist, someone who really did the most to oppose the “lie” of God’s existence, I think of Josef Stalin. So what kind of morality can we expect from someone who takes the message of Richard Dawkins and Dan Barker seriously and has the political power to really do something about it?

The Ukraine Famine

Take a look at this UK Daily Mail article about a great achievement of the atheist Josef Stalin, which occurred in 1932-1933.

Excerpt:

Now, 75 years after one of the great forgotten crimes of modern times, Stalin’s man-made famine of 1932/3, the former Soviet republic of Ukraine is asking the world to classify it as a genocide.

The Ukrainians call it the Holodomor – the Hunger.

Millions starved as Soviet troops and secret policemen raided their villages, stole the harvest and all the food in villagers’ homes.

They dropped dead in the streets, lay dying and rotting in their houses, and some women became so desperate for food that they ate their own children.

If they managed to fend off starvation, they were deported and shot in their hundreds of thousands.

So terrible was the famine that Igor Yukhnovsky, director of the Institute of National Memory, the Ukrainian institution researching the Holodomor, believes as many as nine million may have died.

[…]Between four and five million died in Ukraine, a million died in Kazakhstan and another million in the north Caucasus and the Volga.

By 1933, 5.7 million households – somewhere between ten million and 15 million people – had vanished. They had been deported, shot or died of starvation.

This is what follows when you believe that the universe is an accident, that there is no objective good and evil, that human beings are just animals, that no God will hold us accountable, and that human beings are not made in the image of God for the purpose of freely choosing to come into a relationship with him. The Ukrainian famine is an action that came from a man whose worldview was passionate atheism.

Atheism today

You might think that today’s atheists are much different than Josef Stalin, but understand that according to a recent survey of atheists conducted by atheists, 97% of atheists are pro-abortion. How many people have been killed by abortion? 56 million in the United States alone. Atheists in a society like ours, founded on Judeo-Christian values, are obviously going to live a lot better than Stalin. For one thing, they don’t have the power that Stalin had to eradicate theism, although you can see Stalinism in the anti-Christian activities of groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But take away the Judeo-Christian foundations of this society, and what would you see atheists doing?

Remember the words of Richard Dawkins:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

(“God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, November, 1995, p. 85)

Now, having said that, I readily admit that many atheists adopt Judeo-Christian values if their society is saturated with them, but they are acting better than their worldview requires. They are acting inconsistently with what atheism really teaches. It’s good for us that they do, but for how long?

Read or listen to F. A. Hayek’s classic book “The Road to Serfdom” for free

No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity
No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity

I want to recommend to everyone a famous book about how socialism leads to mass murder by government. The book is written by Nobel prize winner F. A. Hayek. This is one of my favorite books on economics. The full PDF of the book is available for download on archive.org.

The audio version is available FOR FREE on YouTube:

Outline:

  • 00:17 Foreword
  • 37:58 Preface
  • 41:51 Preface 1976
  • 50:09 Introduction
  • 1:08:46 Ch1 The Abandoned Road
  • 1:37:31 Ch2 The Great Utopia
  • 1:54:46 Ch3 Individualism and Collectivism
  • 2:18:32 Ch4 The Inevitability of Planning
  • 2:45:52 Ch5 Planning and Democracy
  • 3:20:06 Ch6 Planning and the Rule of Law
  • 3:54:33 Ch7 Economic Control and Totalitarianism
  • 4:23:01 Ch8 Who, Whom
  • 5:00:49 Ch9 Security and Freedom
  • 5:31:27 Ch10 Why the Worst Get On Top
  • 6:11:01 Ch11 The End of Truth
  • 6:38:41 Ch12 The Socialist Roots of Nazism
  • 7:09:40 Ch13 The Totalitarians in Our Midst
  • 7:54:43 Ch14 Material Conditions and Ideal Ends
  • 8:33:17 Ch15 The Prospects of International Order
  • 9:14:55 Ch16 Conclusion

All you need is 8.5 hours to listen to it. You won’t regret it, I promise. I have listened to the audiobook at least a dozen times. If that’s too long, there is a condensed version of the book.

They Hayek Center talks about condensed version of the book:

Max Eastman and the editors of Reader’s Digest wrote the condensed version of Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (pdf), which was read by millions of Americans at home and by servicemen all of the world when it was published in April of 1945.  It was the Reader’s Digest condensed version which turned Hayek’s little book into an American sensation — and Hayek into a public celebrity.  The Reader’s Digest had a circulation at the time of more the 5 million copies, and the little journal was provided to each American serviceman, at home and abroad.

[…]An additional 600,000 copies of the condensed version were later printed and distributed through the Book of the Month club and by non-profit civic groups.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to live at a time where everyone clearly understood the danger of letting government administrators centrally plan an economy? But the new generation of young Americans have lost that knowledge, and they are voting for the people who will lead them down the road to serfdom.

Canadian court rules that parents can’t prevent children from obtaining hormone replacement therapy

Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue
Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue

Yesterday, I blogged about how progressive politicians and public school administrators allied in order to promote gay activist policies to young children in the state of Ontario, in Canada. I also mentioned how their child sex education curriculum was designed by a convicted pedophile. But they’re not the only state pushing gay activism against the parents who pay their salaries.

The Federalist first reported on the story in the last week of February:

Clark* first found out that his 12-year-old daughter Maxine was being treated as a boy by her school when he saw her new name in her class’s grade seven yearbook. “Quinn” was the new name her counselor had helped her pick out, and Maxine’s school district in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, had decided that “Quinn” should be treated, for all intents and purposes, as a boy.

The district apparently felt justified in leaving Maxine’s father completely out of the loop. Maxine’s school district was operating by the BC Ministry of Education’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Policy, according to which Clark had no right to know his daughter’s “preferred sex, gender, or name” at school.

Keep in mind that the policies of schools in Canada are often developed in conjunction with gay rights groups, who are consulted first, so that the schools can avoid costly “discrimination” lawsuits from gay rights lawyers later on.

More:

Maxine’s counselors at school … referred Maxine and her mother, Sarah, to a “Dr.” Wallace Wong — a psychologist and LGBT activist who predictably decided that Maxine should be referred to a children’s hospital for testosterone injections when she was only 13. Not to be outdone, the children’s hospital asked Maxine’s parents for permission to begin injecting Maxine with testosterone on her very first visit. Clark said no and refused to sign.

From the middle of August until October, the hospital worked Clark over, trying to get his consent. When he finally refused, the hospital dropped a bombshell threat: simply put, they declared that they didn’t need Clark’s or Sarah’s permission for that matter. In a letter mailed December 1, 2018, Dr. Brenden Hursh informed Clark that they would begin treatment on Maxine in two weeks, without Clark’s consent. BC Children’s Hospital believed Maxine was a “mature minor,” who could receive treatment against the wishes of both her parents, according to section 17 of the BC Infants Act.

Well, as you can see, the school teachers, school administrators, courts and hospital doctors (all taxpayer-funded actors), are anxious to get started on “treating” the child with drugs. Only the parent is in the way. I guess he thinks that he should be trusted to raise his own child as he sees fit, rather than to just pay the salaries of these public sector agents and then let them decide for him.

In Canada, people are seen as competent enough to earn money, but not competent enough to spend their money as they see fit. A (large) portion of taxpayer’s income is taken from them in the form of mandatory taxes, and it is then given to teachers, education bureaucrats, hospital administrators and courts in order to regulate their choices to be more in line with progressive values.

So what did the courts decide?

Here is the latest from The Federalist in the first week of March:

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ordered that a 14-year-old girl receive testosterone injections without parental consent. The court also declared that if either of her parents referred to her using female pronouns or addressed her by her birth name, they would be considered guilty of family violence.

As previously reported, Maxine* was encouraged by her school counselor in BC’s Delta School District to identify as a boy while in seventh grade. When Maxine was 13 years old, Dr. Brenden Hursh and his colleagues at BC Children’s Hospital decided that Maxine should begin taking testosterone injections in order to develop a more masculine appearance.

Keep in mind that because the money for health care is extracted from taxpayers before they choose their medical treatment, taxpayers have no right to decide what treatments they will and will not get. It’s the politicians and the hospital administrators who decide. This is what single-payer health care means. You pay your income to the government, and the government decides whether you will be treated, when you will be treated, and even what treatments are appropriate for you. And if you disagree with that, there is no opt-out, except to leave the country. Although they might interpret your disapproval of their decision-making on parenting issues as a “mental illness”, and prescribe you with appropriate treatments for that – e.g. – confining you to a mental institution where your rebellion against the rule of bureaucrats can receive the proper medical attention.

As I noted in yesterday’s post about gay rights in Canada, some Canadian states have passed laws to allow the government to seize children from parents who refuse to respect the will of government bureaucrats.

The Daily Caller explains:

Ontario passed a law Thursday that gives the government the right to take away children from families that don’t accept their kid’s chosen “gender identity.”

Parents who oppose or criticize the LGBT agenda will be considered potential “child abusers” and may have their children taken away by the state, according to the new bill. If the parents are ruled to be abusers by failing to wholeheartedly support their child’s gender choice, that child “can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”

[…]The old law allowed parents to “direct the child’s education and religious upbringing” but now says a parent must influence a child’s education and upbringing “in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity.”

That bill passed 63-23. So you can imagine what sort of sympathy you could expect from Canadians as a whole if you dissented from this law.

Canadian elementary schools vote to promote gay activism during Gay Pride month

Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau
Ontario governor Kathleen Wynne and Canada’s president Justin Trudeau

The Daily Wire reports on the latest gay rights story from Canada:

Every elementary school in Ontario, Canada, will be forced to fly the gay pride flag for at least one week in June, which is Pride Month in the province.

[…]”The rainbow flag, symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, will fly in front of all public elementary schools for at least one week during Pride Month in June,” reported Windsor Star.

Greater Essex County District School Board vice chairman Julia Burgess, who introduced the motion, said the flag will let students know that “we have their back.”

Julia’s motion to force all elementary schools to promote the gay activist agenda was supported by 9 out of 10 school board trustees.

The lone dissenter was swiftly shut down by by chairwoman Jessica Sartori:

Linda Qin, the sole trustee to question the mandate explained that the flag might confuse such young children, particularly with concern to gender identity.

[…]Qin was told her time was up, according to Windsor Star, and was cut off by chairwoman Jessica Sartori.

“Who wouldn’t be proud to fly that flag?” an emotional Sartori asked, who said she flies the gay pride flag at her home.

It’s important to note that not only will there be no opt-out for schools, but there is also no opt-out for parents. Parents have to pay mandatory taxes for the salaries of public school teachers and administrators like Julia and Jessica.

Julia and Jessica didn’t do difficult STEM degrees in college. And when they graduated, they couldn’t find jobs programming software in the private sector. Since they needed something to do, being proper feminists, they decided to spend their days pushing their progressive values onto other people’s children, at taxpayer expense. It sure beats getting married and having to raise children of your own under the leadership of a provider husband. The public schools of every country are filled with women like Julia and Jessica, who think that their feelings-based method of evaluating religion and morality should be pushed onto everyone else’s children.

Daily Wire notes that this is not the only school district doing this:

As noted by LifeSiteNews, Peel District School Board similarly voted in May to fly the gay pride flag. “The board was lobbied by Pride Employee Resource Group (PERG) and heard emotional appeals in favor of raising the flag from parents of ‘gender-creative’ children and homosexual parents in a May meeting packed with LGBT activists wearing pink,” reported the outlet.

What will happen to parents who oppose having their children indoctrinated by radical leftists, at their own expense? Well, the province of Ontario thinks that dissent from their agenda is “child abuse”, so they will seize the children of those parents.

The Daily Caller explains:

Ontario passed a law Thursday that gives the government the right to take away children from families that don’t accept their kid’s chosen “gender identity.”

Parents who oppose or criticize the LGBT agenda will be considered potential “child abusers” and may have their children taken away by the state, according to the new bill. If the parents are ruled to be abusers by failing to wholeheartedly support their child’s gender choice, that child “can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”

[…]The old law allowed parents to “direct the child’s education and religious upbringing” but now says a parent must influence a child’s education and upbringing “in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity.”

It passed 63-23.

I think it’s important to remember who is behind all of the recent education policies in Ontario. His name is Ben Levin. Remember him?

Life Site News reports.

Excerpt:

Ben Levin, the man who “appeared to have it all,” was today sentenced to three years in prison for three child pornography offences.

[…]A member of Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team, Levin was deputy minister of education in 2009 when he and then-minister of education Wynne developed the “equity and inclusive education strategy,” part of which was the 2010 radical sex-ed curriculum shelved by then-Premier Dalton McGuinty after parental backlash. The 2015 sex-ed curriculum is virtually the same as the 2010 version.

[…]The curriculum, to be rolled out this September, prematurely sexualizes children by introducing homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7.

[…]Levin himself claimed in a 2010 interview: “I was the deputy minister of education. In that role, I was the chief civil servant. I was responsible for the operation of the Ministry of Education and everything that they do; I was brought in to implement the new education policy.”

[…]Levin pled guilty on March 3, 2015, to three of an original seven child pornography related charges.

McArthur related how in 2010, Levin created a profile on an “alternative sexual lifestyle networking site” frequenting chat-rooms on “incest” and “teens.” He subsequently “came to the attention of three undercover officers.”

In the course of sex-chats with these officers, Levin “wrote a story detailing the violent sexual abuse of a child” and “counseled another officer, posing as a young mother, to sadistically sexually assault her eight-year-old daughter.”

[…]He “collected child pornography over two years.

[…]Levin also had a list of about 1,750 online contacts with whom he communicated on “subversive sexual interests,” primarily “sexual contact between parents and children.”

In his sex-chats, Levin “normalized the subject of the sexual touching of children.”

[…]The “sadistic overtones to the counseling adds a disturbing dimension to the offence,” McArthur stated, noting that psychiatrist Dr. Julian Gojer testified that Levin had a “pedophiliac interest in children” which was “intense” for three to four years. Gojer stated Levin “had sadistic impulses that seemed interwoven with his pedophilic interest” and “was on the extreme end of the sadomasochistic spectrum as it relates to the sexual abuse of children.”

I don’t think that it is a stretch to say that his views on sexuality and children reflect the broader views of Canadian progressives as a whole, and their allies in the public schools. The difference is that he just got caught.

What makes these Ontario liberals any different than the Democrat liberals we have in America? Nothing. They’re the same ideas as American Democrats hold to, but Canada is just further along at implementing them.

Wayne Grudem debates Richard Glover on the Bible, poverty and foreign aid

Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!
Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!

A great episode of the Unbelievable podcast. This is a great debate. I really enjoyed it. All three speakers were excellent putting forward their points. It’s nice to hear an American voice, a British voice and an Australian voice debating an important issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Details:

Wayne Grudem is a theologian known for his conservative approach to both doctrine and economics. His new book “The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution” (co-authored with economist Barry Asmus) makes the case that pouring aid into developing countries is a failed strategy. Grudem debates whether the Bible supports free market, capitalist economics with Australian economist and theologian Richard Glover who wrote a critique of the book for the Australian Bible Society.

 The MP3 file is here.

Summary:

Grudem:

  • The Bible speaks to all of life, including economics, stewardship, government
  • The study of economics helps us to understand how to take care of the poor
  • My job is to apply the teachings of the Bible to all of life

Brierley:

  • What’s your thesis in the book?

Grudem:

  • A good system is one where the poor have the opportunity to earn and save from their labor
  • Book is a response to a Kenyan couple Grudem met at a London conference on business and Christianity
  • Book is not concerned with how individuals and groups can do charity to help the poor
  • Our church already does that and we support individuals and groups doing charity
  • The book is concerned with how should nations be transformed in order to grow economically
  • What should the laws, policies and cultural beliefs of a nation be in order for it to not be poor?
  • The book lists factors that have moved nations from poverty to prosperity in different times and places
  • The thesis of the book is this: government should set their people free to be able to produce more
  • We advocate freedom in economics: freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to start businesses
  • We believe that this free enterprise view is consistent with the Bible in a number of places
  • E.g. – private property is good for prosperity (thou shall not steal) but forbidden by communism

Brierley:

  • What about the church sharing in communities in Acts 2 and Acts 4?

Grudem:

  • That is not redistribution of wealth among individuals and businesses by a secular government
  • Those passages showed that there was voluntary sharing among Christians, which is not communism

Brierley:

  • What’s wrong with Grudem’s book?

Glover:

  • The book emphasizes the Bible and the goal is to help the poor in poor countries
  • Criticism 1: the book doesn’t engage with non-free-market perspectives on economics
  • Criticism 2: the book doesn’t survey all that the Bible says about economics

Brierly:

  • For 1) what is one of the views that is not considered?

Glover:

  • Jeffrey Sachs says that nations need a leg up before they can grow economically
  • Ha-Joon Chang says that free enterprise was not how the wealthy nations became wealthy

Grudem:

  • We do engage with other points of view, especially Jeffrey Sachs in the book
  • The trouble with leftist views on economic development is that it does not work in practice
  • NO COUNTRY has even been lifted out of poverty by foreign aid
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the wisdom literature: we have 64 citations in the index
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the gospels: we have 42 citations in the index
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the epistles: we cite 22 of 27 epistles in the index
  • Some economists won’t criticize cultural and moral values that hurt prosperity
  • As Christians, we think that moral and cultural values are part of the problem that needs solving

Brierley:

  • What about foreign aid?

Grudem:

  • Foreign aid doesn’t help: a lot of the money goes into government and rulers can be corrupt
  • Instead of encouraging people to start businesses, it tells people to go into government to get aid money
  • Economists (lists 3) are saying that foreign aid entrenches corrupt government in power, does no good

Brierley:

  • If it’s not working, should we keep doing it?

Glover:

  • When there is an immediate need, we should do it, even if it is not a long-term solution: we need both

Brierley:

  • Should we stop foreign aid completely?

Grudem:

  • Voluntary charitable giving from individuals and churches to help poor countries is good
  • Me and my co-author are both active on our church board that helps poor countries with urgent needs
  • Food and doctors are urgent needs, and we should help, but it doesn’t lift countries out of poverty
  • We need a long-term solution that helps poor countries produce their own food and doctors
  • We are criticizing 1) government to government aid and 2) IMF/World bank to government aid
  • We have had pushback because 500,000 people make a living from this foreign aid industry
  • No country has ever been lifted out of poverty into sustainable prosperity
  • That’s the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing that has never worked

Brierley:

  • Does the Bible support free enterprise as a way of creating sustainable prosperity?

Glover:

  • When I said the Bible was absent from his book, absent was a bad choice of words
  • But the hundreds of references he listed were not dealth with *in depth*
  • In the Scriptures, God is the one who provides (e.g. – in Ephesians, Sermon on the Mount)
  • The Bible is less focused on his people making money, and more focus on sharing basics, like food
  • Secular governments should just take it from people who have food and give it to hungry people
  • In 2 Cor 8-9, Paul talks about voluntary sharing so everyone will be equal

Brierley:

  • Does 2 Cor 8-9 undermine the free enterprise system you champion in the book?

Grudem:

  • The sharing in the Bible solves cases of urgent need, it does not lift countries from poverty to sustainable prosperity
  • Some older translations say “equality” in 2 Cor 8:13-14, but newer translations (e.g. – ESV) say “fairness”
  • The Greek word is translated as “fairly” the only other place it appears in the NT (Col 4:1), in every translation
  • God uses the means of human work and productivity to provide (daily bread is baked, doesn’t just fall from Heaven)
  • In general, there’s no provision in Scripture for a person to be dependent on donations for their entire lives
  • God promises Israel fields and mountains to tend and mine, but prosperity is from work, not depending on others

Brierley:

  • Does the Bible support this focus on work?

Grudem:

  • Working is highly praised in Scripture, (lists Bible passages that favor work over dependency)
  • Countries that were exposed to this notion of work and productivity have been more prosperous

Glover:

  • Jeffrey Sachs and other development economists don’t say you can be prosperous through dependence
  • They say that it is a necessary part of leading to nations out of poverty into poverty

Grudem:

  • It’s never worked. What nation has become prosperous through foreign aid?

Glover:

  • There are lots of nations, especially in Africa, where foreign aid has helped lift them out of poverty

Grudem:

  • Name one country in Africa where foreign aud has lifted them out of poverty into sustainable prosperity

Glover:

  • I can’t think of one right now.

Grudem:

  • Our book contains a map of Africa and we looked at every nation’s per capita income
  • No nation has been able to rise out of poverty through dependence on foreign aid
  • The only close one is Botswana, but they have abundant freedoms, Christian morals, less corrupt government
  • So Botswana is the best case and they became prosperous through becoming productive, not foreign aid

Brierley:

  • Is he right to say that charity is a short-term solution, but that it’s not good long-term for prosperity?

Glover:

  • Yes, and work is a very important focus in the Scriptures as he says.
  • But since the Fall work has been much harder, and may not have the outcomes that we would like

Grudem:

  • I also believe in emergency aid for when catastrophies happen, like floods and famines
  • But dependence on foreign aid enriches corrupt rulers and does not create the productivity that leads to sustained prosperity

Brierley:

  • Can foreign aid be used to give poor nations a leg up on becoming prosperous?

Grudem:

  • Dambisa Moyo, Oxford-educated economist from Zambia, says stop the aid, it’s doing more harm than good
  • Jeffrey Sachs’ view is that foreign aid hasn’t worked yet, but just keep trying a bit more
  • What works: limited government, rule of law, fair courts, documented property rights, low taxes, stable currency
  • People are creative and want to work, we just have to get government out of the way and let people work, earn and save

Brierley:

  • Is this free enterprise system supported by the Bible?

Glover:

  • The wealthy nations of the world did not become wealthy through productive work and free enterprise policies
  • Ha-Joon Chang: free enterprise policies have never brought a country from poverty to wealth
  • E.g. – wealth is created through tariffs (not by innovating and by economic freedom?)

Grudem:

  • I’ve read Ha-Joon Chang’s book, and his examples are very selective and limited
  • Index of Economic Freedom: the freest countries are the most prosperous, the least free countries are the most poor
  • When you look at macro data, instead of very selective examples, the free enterprise system is best for prosperity

Glover:

  • The book doesn’t do enough to engage with leftist economists (he doesn’t say which ones)
  • Just because nations who are free are rich, doesn’t mean freedom causes productivity
  • There are parts of the Bible that doesn’t support the free enterprise system (he names none)

Grudem:

  • The Bible is focused on work not dependency, and charity not government redistribution
  • The best way to help the poor in other countries is by encouraging work and productivity